In The News

Thu 5 Oct 2017

Are You Asking The ‘Write’ Questions?

words blocks with magnifying glass

My nine-year-old daughter asked me a grammar question the other day that stopped me in my tracks: “When do you use ‘in spite of’ and ‘despite’?

I honestly had to stop and think about it. Despite being an author, corporate trainer and former-journalist no-one has ever asked me that question – not even in my business-writing workshops. My nine-year-old on the other hand, has been labelled ‘a slow reader,’ by her Year 4 teacher.

The consensus is that the terms are interchangeable. ‘Despite’ is perhaps more elegant because it is one word rather than three. When I’m editing copy I get a buzz out of reducing the number of words without changing the meaning. It’s the same satisfaction some people might get from weeding a garden; it allows the flowers to shine without being crowded out by thistles and nettles.

But back to the prepositions ‘in spite of’ and ‘despite’. You can say: “Despite her sprained ankle she finished the race.” Alternatively: “In spite of a sprained ankle she finished the race.” There’s no difference in meaning. However, some people get confused and write ‘inspite’ – when there’s no such word.

What I love about my daughter’s question though, is that in spite of her supposedly low reading status in the classroom, she is an assiduous listener and collector of words and idioms. She’ll try out a phrase even if it doesn’t fit the situation exactly, just because she likes the sound of it.

According to the Reggio Emilio Early Learning philosophy there are eight types of intelligence, including spatial, linguistic, physical, interpersonal and musical. It saddens me that our education system only recognises and nurtures a narrow band of these skills.

What’s important is that despite our talent, skills, educational standard or professional status we will only improve and learn when we ask the right questions and keep an open child-like mind when listening to the response.

Back to In The News

Recent News

Finance & Insurance
Mon 18 Jun 2018

The Rule of 72

Grant McCarthy
Fri 15 Jun 2018

The Subtle Art of Giving

Mell Balment
Business Consulting & Coaching
Thu 14 Jun 2018

Lessons From Sport in the Art of Creating a High Performing Team

Samantha Chambers
Tourism & Travel
Wed 13 Jun 2018

Los Angeles Discovered

Jodi Dalton
Click to join the clique